Hi, I’m brand new to this board. I joined it because I found a website that indicates that a group associated with this board is going to hold a “Christmas in July” for the Windsor Girls Home in St. Ann’s.
I have just come from a trip to Jamaica, and my group visited the WGH. It’s one of the most important and worthy endeavors I have ever seen, and I am so glad that other visitors are taking an interest. The home provides a safe haven and education for teenage girls who have had a very rough time. The state pays a little for their care, but there are never enough resources, and the staff must fundraise and “beg” to get the academically inclined ones into good high schools that require tuition. The developmentally delayed girls are particularly luckless, since the government stops funding them at age 18 even if they need more help and schooling. I look forward to seeing the “wish list” of what the home needs, and it will be sobering, I’m sure, to note that some of its needs – such as clothing – are very basic.
Those of you who have already visited Jamaica probably have noted that poor and unemployed people gravitate to the edges of resorts and other prosperous looking places where they set up shacks and try to live off those establishments. Although the WGH is, by U.S. standards, as modest as can be, there are squatters just outside its gates nonetheless. Occasionally some individuals in squatter communities pose threats: some of the men have tried to entice the WGH teen girls to come outside the gate, and have even cut holes in the fence. WGH’s security guards are kept busy.
The staff told my group that they are grateful for one-time projects such as Christmas gifts. They also appreciate the two-week camping trip that an Atlanta church provides the girls every summer. But these extras are never enough. It is also clear that WGH needs consistent, year-round support, such as adoption by U.S. “sugar daddy” organizations that can raise tuition money. Kudos to those of you who fulfill the upcoming “wish list” and help this struggling school/home.